Sunday, October 26, 2008

Family Secrets in: We want yours. in: Your favorite recipes.

We are hoping to put together a cookbook as a fundraiser. We thought this would be a good way to let people contribute in a way that didn't involve those ever-more-precious dollars and cents. Hopefully the cookbook itself would have lasting value too.

So if you've got something good you want to share (or even something mediocre if it comes with a good story attached) leave us a comment, drop us an email, send us a telepathic message, or whatever other method of communication you favor.

It can be traditional, modern, ethnic, offbeat, vegetarian, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, midnight snack, something for company, something for holidays, something for just you, your grandma's secret, your own invention, something you stole, something blue, a canning recipe, dog treats, easy, hard, fast, slow, long, short, extremely healthy, or a heart attack drizzled with cheese sauce. Just no seafood. ;-)


Monday, October 20, 2008

Another new development

Amelia's school just let us know that they will be doing a week-long fundraiser for her next week. The coordinator told me how excited they are to help, but also told us how they could use it as an opportunity to teach the kids how animals can help people. To me, that makes it even cooler.

We'll let you know more details later. The help and support are so gratifying.

Thank you Westfall Elementary!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

4 Paws dogs in training

If you're curious to see the dogs that are being trained right now for placement with families in the coming months and years, you can see them here.

On the same site, you can also learn more about how 4 Paws for Ability uses inmates to do the initial obedience training for their dogs. You'll find links to their work with the Warren Correctional Center and the Larkin Correctional Center. Each participating dog is placed with a pair of inmates. The dog will actually live in the cell with the inmates, who share responsibility for training and caring for the dog.

To me, this is a great setup, because it's a win-win-win. It helps the prisoners build self-esteem and experience the unconditional love that only a dog can give. The dogs get plenty of attention and spend all day and night with their own personal trainers. And 4 Paws for Ability gets to train many more dogs without having to hire many more trainers.

And finally, you can see dogs ready for adoption to the general public. These are dogs that weren't quite qualified for service dog duty, but that are fully obedience trained and ready for permanenet homes.

The more I learn about this organization, the more impressed I am.


Thursday, October 9, 2008


Thank you to everyone who has helped us on this journey. Every time I try to say something eloquent about how much it means to us, the words come up short.

Out of respect for privacy, we won't thank individual donors here, but you know who you are.

We'd also like to thank the following companies, organizations, and groups:
(Updated regularly)

Helping Hands Pediatrics

Pickaway Hands for Disabled

Grace Church of Circleville

Fields of View Photography


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mark your calendar

December 6th, from 9am to 3pm, we will be at the Westfall Elementary School in Williamsport, Ohio, for their craft bazaar. Organizers have generously provided us with a table. (Thanks Nicole, Julie, and Roberta!)

We hope to have at least two dogs trained by 4 Paws on hand, and hopefully we can have some baked goods, maybe a raffle of some sort... We've still got a couple of months to work out the specifics.

I know many of you reading this are nowhere near us, but if you are in the neighborhood, stop by, say "hello", and shake a few paws...

[... and if you want to bake some brownies and bring them by, well, I'm sure not gonna stop ya! ]


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Animal Planet Hero of the Year Award 2008

Karen Shirk, the founder of 4 Paws for Ability, has been named as one of ten finalists for the Animal Planet Hero of the Year Award.

From the looks of it, any of the finalists would be deserving of such an award. As for me, I've got to vote for Karen.

You can learn more about the nominees and cast your vote here.

The winner will be announced on December 4th. The winner's organization will receive a $10,000 donation.

Karen has also recieved a Volvo for Life Hero award and has been featured by CNN Heroes as well. Next up for Karen is Directv's Hometown Heroes.

I'm sensing a theme...

Below are some video clips from CNN, featuring Karen, along with a couple of parents of autistic kids who have received service dogs. The parents describe the impact the dogs have had on their lives and the lives of their children.

(The video is in three parts. It looks like it's ending, and if you wait a few seconds, the next segment will start.)

[ Link to video ]

- Edson